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Reaction To Arc Rates Penalty Notice


Reaction To Arc Rates Penalty Notice

I have today received a notice from the ARC requesting me to pay my unpaid rates within 14 days - and advising me that the ARC had added a 10% penalty to my rates bill.[Copy available on request]

My response, per email, is set out below - in summary, I have asked them to give legal proof that they can charge penalties, and to confirm that they cannot take any legal enforcement action against until 7th December at the earliest.

I am advising supporters of the Ratepayers Rebellion to send similar letters.

COPY OF LETTER SENT TO ARC.

Jo Brosnahan Chief Executive Auckland Regional Council Private Bag 92 012 AUCKLAND

Madam,

Re our rates invoice number 4227393

We have today received a letter which purports to notify us that you have added a 10% penalty to our unpaid ARC rates.

We challenge the right of the ARC to charge a penalty on our unpaid regional rates.

The rates resolution passed by the council on 1st July 2003 stated only that penalties 'may' be applied. There is no subsequent resolution that we are aware of that resolved that penalties 'will' be applied.

We understand that the Annual Plan states that penalties will be applied, following a resolution to that effect in June as part of the Annual Plan process, leading to the adoption of the Annual Plan on 23rd June 2003.

However we would refer you to section 98 (2) of the Local Government Act 2002 which states,

'A resolution to adopt a long-term council community plan or an annual plan does not constitute a decision to act on any specific matter included within the plan'.

We therefore believe that the June resolution to include the penalties as part of the Annual Plan is not sufficient authority to actually impose penalties.

Any penalties should have been set in accordance with section 57 of the Local Government (Rating) Act 2003. That requires that a resolution to impose penalties must be made no later than the date on which the rates are set. No such resolution was made.

As the rates resolution has now been passed, no penalties may be added for the current year.

We would appreciate a prompt response including any legal advice you may have received giving you authority to impose these penalties, including any case law references.

We also question your 'Reminder' to "Please Pay within fourteen days".

Please confirm that you have no powers to make us pay anything within 14 days.

Also please confirm that you may not commence any debt enforcement legal action against us until 7th December 2003 - four months after our original due date for payment.

Also please confirm that, even if you had authority to charges penalties, you would be unable to charge any further penalties until 7th February 2004, and then only on rates unpaid at that time.

Signed RDC & PVO Thornton

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